Grand Times Bookstore

Grand Times Book Store

A curated list of children’s books that create lasting memories and teach valuable lessons.

Indelible Ann: The Larger-Than-Life Story of Governor Ann Richards

By Meghan P. Brown
Illustrated by Carlynn Whitt
Ages 4–8

This detailed picture book biography on the life of Texas governor Ann Richards is beautifully written and filled with Texas charm. Born in rural Texas, Ann’s life taught her about determination, stamina, grit, and the ability to juggle many responsibilities at a time — all to ready her for her long career in politics, where she exercised her commitment to doing the right thing for all people and working together.  The refrain “Just wait, you’ll see,” repeated throughout the book, brings each phase of Ann’s life together. She was known for her big voice, zingers, Southern drawl, and overflowing heart for the people of Texas. I appreciated how the author includes the “defeats” of Ann’s life to show how she persevered. This is an inspiring story of how one woman changed both Texas and America — and a fabulous historical introduction for kids.

Meredith’s Gift

By Joellyn Cicciarelli
Illustrated by Carrie Schuler
Loyola Press

Meredith is a star on her school’s basketball team, thanks to her talent on the court. Everyone loves and admires her. But during one game, she begins to feel unwell. Her hands are clammy, and she’s out of breath. During a visit to the doctor, Meredith learns she has a heart condition that will keep her from playing basketball. But Meredith learns to face her new challenges with help from her family, her team, her coach, and determination. I love the optimistic ending, and the charming illustrations enhance the emotion of the story. This heartfelt book shows kids how to overcome the challenges in their life — health-related or otherwise — and move forward.

In My Life

Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney
Illustrated by Genevieve Santos
L&O bookshop link:

The classic Beatles song is introduced to a new audience as a poem about friendship, love, and change in this lovingly illustrated picture book. A young girl gets a bike for a gift, which she first rides alongside her mother. As she grows older, the words to the poem reflect changes in her life as she travels through other experiences. The final page, showing the girl grown up and with a little girl of her own, brings renewed life and meaning to a song that most of us have known our whole lives. This is a beautiful addition to any library, and especially well-suited for reading to children aged 1-6.

Thesaurus Has a Secret

Written and illustrated by Anya Glazer
L&O bookshop link:

Even though he eats plants, takes baths, and arm wrestles like the other dinosaurs, Thesaurus is worried that his friends will think he’s weird if they know he likes to… read! In this charming and funny book, author and illustrator Anya Glazer shows us what a friendly dinosaur has to do to hide his reading habit from his friends because he is afraid they will make fun of him. When his secret is discovered, the other dinosaurs have a surprising response: They want him to read to them. This is a great story time book for readers and listeners ages 1-6.

Laxmi’s Mooch

Written by Shelly Amand
Illustrations by Nabi H. Ali
Ages 4-8

This adorable book radiates with body positivity for all little girls. It sends an important message that hair on your body, wherever it grows, is natural. While playing during recess, Laxmi’s friends start teasing her about the hairs above her lip. When Laxmi discovers her “mooch” (“mustache” in Hindi), she goes to her parents for guidance. Laxmi learns hair grows not just on the head but everywhere on the body, and that she comes from a line of strong women all of whom have mooches! Their talk helps Laxmi embrace her mooch, eyebrows, and body hair. Soon all her friends want a mooch just like Laxmi. So she draws one on her classmates, and they all play together. Shelly Amand’s gentle and affirming text is refreshing; the illustrations by Nabi H. Ali are endearing. You will love reading this story to your special little ones.

Code Breaker, Spy Hunter: How Elizebeth Friedman Changed The Course of Two World Wars

By Laurie Wallmark
Illustrated by Brooke Smart
Ages 6-18

What an incredible and informative picture book biography! Elizebeth Friedman’s first love was literature. After college, a wealthy, eccentric gentleman hired her to find hidden messages in Shakespeare’s plays to determine Shakespeare’s “true” identity. There were none, but this led Friedman to codebreaking work for criminal prosecutors, the Coast Guard, and government officials.

Friedman’s extraordinary talent in languages and analysis led to her selection, along with her husband, to develop the U.S.’s first codebreaking system and to form the OSS (now the FBI). Throughout her career, she deciphered thousands of secret messages, broke the complicated Nazi codes, and trained others to do the same. Friedman also enjoyed her peaceful life at home: She would host dinner parties where guests had to decipher codes just so they could eat!
Brooke Smart’s illustrations are flawlessly arranged to enhance Laurie Wallmark’s intricate text. Embedded quotes on each page show Friedman’s extraordinary life and accomplishments.

Take some time with your older grandkids and get to know Elizabeth Friedman, a true American heroine!

On Sleepy Hill

Written by Patricia Hagarty
Illustrated by Xuan Le
To 3 years

I love go-to-sleep books. What a better way to bond with a child than reading a story about how animals cuddle up for a night of sweet slumber? Patricia Hegarty’s rhyming text reassures and soothes as the day draws to a close. Children will have fun whispering “good night” to their new forest friends, and, along the way, they will learn about animal habitats and behavior. The illustrations by Xuan Le are charming, and the intricate, peek-through cut-outs on each page will enchant any wee one.   i is one of those books you will enjoy reading with your grandkids now and have fond memories of as the years go by.

What’s Inside A Flower? And Other Questions About Science & Nature

By Rachel Ignotofsky
Written & Illustrated by: Rachel Ignotofsky
4-7 years

We all enjoy seeing flowers in gardens and along the roadway. But how did they get there? Were they planted, or did a seed drop from a flying bird?

Rachel Ignotofsky’s new picture book series will satisfy young children’s minds and nurture their curiosity about the natural world — all starting with what’s inside a flower. Burgeoning gardeners and beginning backyard scientists alike will love each page of this fabulous introduction to flowers, from seeds to roots to blooms. Learning how flowers grow gives kids beneficial building blocks of science and inquiry. Ignotofsky’s unique art style makes learning fun. Her love of science makes the text engaging, answering questions a child (or adult) might have about flowers’ growth in easy-to-understand language. Before you know it, your grandchildren will be fascinated with how flowers grow. They may even ask for a small patch of backyard space for their very own garden science project.

I adore this book’s charming illustrations and vivid explanations about nature, science, and flowers. What’s Inside a Flower? also includes a resource guide for additional books and websites should your new gardener wish to learn more about plants and flowers.

Every Voice Counts! Make Yourself Heard!

By Dr. Suess
Age 7+

It’s never too early for children to know their voice counts! In true Dr. Suess style, this simple book helps children realize we are all unique, each of us with a powerful voice to help make the world a better place. Children, parents, and grandparents, alike, will enjoy this wonderful primer on speaking up — and listening in. The illustrations will take you back to your childhood when you were reading The Cat in the Hat!

I Am! Affirmations for Resilience

By Bela Barbosa | Illustrated by Edel Rodriguez
Age 2 – 4

This brightly illustrated board book is full of authentic affirmations and positivity for preschool-age children. Barbosa focuses on 10 relatable emotions, such as jealously and loneliness. She offers centering exercises and encourages affirmation to counter negative self-thoughts. For example: “When you feel scared of something new, Stand Tall, Put your hands on your hips, and say: I Am Brave!” Straightforward and accessible, these affirmations foster inner strength for these critical times, as parents and children, both, must adjust to the new normal of quarantine. Edel Rodriguez’s illustrations are colorful and will engage the children as you read the story.

I Don’t Want To Wash My Hands

Written and Illustrated by Tony Ross
Ages 2 – 5 years

This little princess does not want to wash her hands. After all, in one day, she has washed them so many times — before eating, after playing in the dirt, after she sneezed, and even after she used her potty. And every time she’s reminded to wash her hands, she asks, “Why?” Because of germs and nasties, her maid says, that are too small to see. This sweet and timely book helps teach wee ones the importance of handwashing in a fun way with colorful, expressive illustrations.

Wild Symphony

By Dan Brown
Illustrated by Susan Batori
Ages 3 – 7 years

Dan Brown, the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Da Vinci Code, has new credentials on his impressive resume: children’s book author and composer of the music from Wild Symphony. Wild Symphony is a unique and entertaining picture book with delightful rhyming text. Playful Maestro Mouse, trusty baton in hand, brings readers along as he plans to put on a concert with his animal friends. Each of these musically inclined critters offers a bit of advice for life’s journey. Their wisdom inspires conversations about our unique selves, the importance of never giving up, and the benefits of slowing down and enjoying our day. Susan Batori’s beautiful illustrations add some kid-friendly humor. A simple anagram is hidden on every page, adding to the fun; when placed in the correct order, the letters spell out the name of a musical instrument in the orchestra. Children and adults will enjoy reading along, or they can listen to the 21 original pieces of music as they read. Each animal’s personality has a unique piece, and listeners can use a free interactive app for cell phones to play the right song at the right time. You and your family will enjoy beautiful illustrations and the creative story, and the original music over and over again. It is a true multimedia experience.

Bedtime Classics: A Little Princess

By Frances Hodgson Burnett
Illustrated by Carly Gledhill
Ages 0-2

The Bedtime Classics is a charming series of board books that take classic works of fiction and simplify and shorten them for the youngest reader. Each story in the series breathes new life and fresh faces into famous tales such as The Wizard of Oz and A Little Princess. Carly Gledhill’s illustrations are beautiful and vivid, with diverse characters. They are perfect two-minute stories that will delight children, parents, and grandparents, alike. Readers will feel good about introducing children to some of the most iconic stories of literature, building libraries with these unique editions.

The other titles in the series are Alice in Wonderland, The Nutcracker, Jack and the Beanstalk, and The Three Little Pigs.

Bedtime Classics: The Wizard of Oz

By L. Frank Baum
Illustrated by Carly Gledhill
Ages 0-2

The Bedtime Classics is a charming series of board books that take classic works of fiction and simplify and shorten them for the youngest reader. Each story in the series breathes new life and fresh faces into famous tales such as The Wizard of Oz and A Little Princess. Carly Gledhill’s illustrations are beautiful and vivid, with diverse characters. They are perfect two-minute stories that will delight children, parents, and grandparents, alike. Readers will feel good about introducing children to some of the most iconic stories of literature, building libraries with these unique editions.

The other titles in the series are Alice in Wonderland, The Nutcracker, Jack and the Beanstalk, and The Three Little Pigs.

For Spacious Skies: Katharine Lee Bates and the Inspiration for “America the Beautiful”

Written by Nancy Churnin
Illustrated by Olga Baumert
Ages 4-8

Nancy Churnin and Olga Baumert bring the life of Katharine Lee Bates, author of the poem behind “America the Beautiful,” to audiences of all ages with this gorgeous picture book biography. Follow the unforgettable journey of a girl who grew up to be a poet and professor, accompanied by brilliant illustrations from Olga Baumert. As a child during the Civil War, Bates dreamed of using her love of words to heal her broken country. With “America the Beautiful,” that’s what she did, urging everyone to “crown thy good with brotherhood,” and reminding us we’re all one family “from sea to shining sea.” Bates stood up for a woman’s right to vote and lived to cast her ballot in 1920, making this book a perfect choice to honor the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. For Spacious Skies was written with the support of Bates’ great grandniece. You’ll find free teacher guides, resources, and a project on the author’s website at

Little Kids First Big Book of Science

Written by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld
Ages 4 – 8

This book is a colorful introduction to the captivating world of science. It explores the many different scientific fields, what scientists do, and the fantastic things they study: animals and plants; oceans and space; earthquakes and volcanoes; sound and light; and more! Children and adults alike will enjoy fun activities, games, and simple experiments that encourage interactive learning. The images are bright, and the text is perfect for four- to eight-year-olds.

Nope. Never. Not For Me!

Written and Illustrated by Samantha Cotterill
Age 3 – 7

Some children can be picky eaters! To encourage healthy eating for kids, it sometimes takes creativity and fun. It wasn’t until my Mom told my son broccoli were little trees that he would gobble them up. In this adorable book, a little girl refuses to try a piece of broccoli until her mom guides her through a fun exploration of the new food. The little girl first looks, then sniffs, then touches, and then, finally, takes one teensy bite. Her varied reactions are precious. To find out if she eats this food and tries others, read this humorous and well-illustrated book.

The Little Engine That Could

Written by Wally Piper
Re-Illustrated by Dan Santat
Ages 3–6

Everyone remembers the little train that, despite her small size, victoriously brings her cargo of toys and goodies to the little children waiting on the other side of the mountain. In this anniversary edition, the text is the same as it was when first published in 1930. But the illustrations have been beautifully reimagined by Caldecott-winner Dan Santat, bringing the bright blue little engine into the 21st century. The positive message of I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, has encouraged and inspired children to pursue their dreams no matter the obstacle. Letters from country music legend Dolly Parton and Santat bookend the story. This update is one you will want to read over and over again.

Sunny Day

Song Written By Joe Roposo with Bruce Hart and Jon Stone
Illustrated by 18 Talented Artists
Age 4–8

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sesame Street, 18 picture-book artists each bring their talents to illustrate their interpretation of a different line from the show’s iconic song, “Sunny Day.” The award-winning and bestselling list of illustrators includes Christian Robinson, Tom Lichtenheld, Vanessa Brantley-Newton, Leo Espinosa, Dan Santat, and more. Sunny Day is a beautifully illustrated tribute to Sesame Street — and to the generations of children who have grown up watching the show and singing along.

Beautiful Shades of Brown

By Nancy Churnin 
Illustrated by Felicia Marshall
Age 6 – 11  $18.99

Growing up in the late 19th century, Laura Wheeler Waring didn’t see any artists who looked like her. She didn’t see any paintings of people who looked like her, either. As a young woman studying art in Paris, she found inspiration in the works of Matisse and Gaugin to paint the people she knew best. Back in Philadelphia, the Harmon Foundation commissioned her to paint portraits of accomplished African-Americans. Her portraits still hang in Washington DC’s National Portrait Gallery, where children of all races can admire the beautiful shades of brown she captured.

Say Hello, Lilly

Written by Deborah Lakritz
Illustrated by Martha Avilés
Age 3 – 8

Lily is a shy little girl. But, one day, she wants to volunteer with her Mom at Shalom House, a senior living community. At first, Lily stays close to her Mom, overwhelmed by all of the new people she meets. Soon, however, she begins to feel more comfortable and finds the courage to talk with others. As her birthday approaches, she looks forward to each visit. Lily makes friends with the older residents and joins in on activities, even bringing a few of her own to share. Published in 2010, this is an oldie but a goodie. The colorful illustrations represent the joy of intergenerational relationships. Even though the story takes place in a Jewish environment, it is a story many can relate to: that of a little girl, working to overcome her shyness.

Lawrence: The Bunny Who Wanted to Be Naked

Written/Illustrated by Vern Kousky
Ages 3 – 7

In this charming book, Vern Kousky takes a look at the sensitive mother-child relationship that has gone to the extreme. Ever since he was a tiny bunny, Lawrence’s mother has loved to dress him up in all the most fashionable clothes: the brightest colors and the most unusual styles. But Lawrence hates wearing clothes. None of the other animals wear clothes, including his mother! When Lawrence comes up with an ingenious and mischievous — but also, caring — plan to turn the tables on Mom, readers of all ages will smile at the outcome. Children can relate to Lawrence’s quest for independence, just as parents will identify with how hard it is to let go of your special bunny. This book is perfect to read aloud, celebrating individuality and problem-solving. The watercolor illustrations are adorable and draw you into the story.

The Crayons Christmas

Written by Drew Daywalt
Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
Ages 3 and up

This unique book is the perfect gift for fans of the duo’s previous books, The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home. It is so cute in its presentation, all from the Crayons’ point of view! Your little readers will learn how young Duncan and his family celebrate the holidays, and the fun way the Crayons appreciate being an important part of Duncan’s life. Included are the actual letters the Crayons write — each of which can be pulled out and read. You and your kiddos will find stickers, games, punch-out ornaments, and more fun activities. Fans will delight when grey Crayon writes to Duncan that he is visiting his family for Chanukah. The Crayons’ personalities come alive through Daywalt’s original text and Jeffers’s illustrations. If this is your first Crayon book, you will be excited to read them all.

Goodnight Bubbala

Written by Sheryl Haft
Illustrated by Jill Weber
Ages 2–5 years

This adorable, festive story reimagines a classic bedtime book with an energetic Jewish family gathering for Chanukah to see Bunny “Bubbala” (the Yiddish term for “sweet child”). Bubbies, zeydes, a dreidel, and even a shmear on a bagel fill the pages of this parody of Goodnight Moon, but with a very different type of bedtime! The whole family is full of enthusiasm, love, and Yiddish sayings! Instead of speaking in whispers, this Bunny’s bedtime includes dancing, kvelling, and, of course, lots of noshing. This delightful story celebrates the Jewish values of cherishing your loved ones, expressing gratitude, and being generous. The book includes a phonetic glossary to teach wee ones a bit of Yiddish. The last page serves up a potato latke recipe from cookbook author Ina Garten, TV’s Barefoot Contessa! With its rhyming text and fun illustrations, this little book presents the tradition of Chanukah and family time in a beautiful, enjoyable, and essential way.

In Honor of Grandparents Day

DEAR GRANDCHILD, THIS IS ME: A Gift of Stories, Wisdom and Off-the-Record Tales

Produced by: Waterbrook

The best gift a grandparent can give is a piece of themselves that will stay with their grandchildren forever. Using this beautiful journal, grandparents can capture the details of their unique experiences, sharing both valuable life lessons and words of wisdom. There are built-in envelopes to stash special letters of encouragement for specific occasions in your grandchild’s future. Write out recipes, add photos, and create your family tree. There are even off-the-record questions to prompt fun stories. It is a perfect way to capture memories and milestones for the loved one close to your heart. Verses and illustrations from a variety of artists will inspire your journey.

Secrets of The Vegetable Garden — A Shine-A-Light Book

Author: Carron Brown
Illustrated by Giordano Poloni
Ages 4 – 8

Garden-lovers and their grandkids will revel in this unique book. A vegetable garden grows under the sun. If you look closely between the stalks, beneath the leaves, and under the soil, you will spot the animals and plants living there. Children can hold each page up to the light or shine a flashlight behind the page to reveal what is unseen in and around the vegetable garden. The story follows the growth of a tomato plant, from seed to fruit. See the seeds in the soil, the ladybugs hiding under a leaf, and the bees getting their daily dose of pollen. Each reader will discover a small world of great surprises on this delightful book.

Toad Makes a Road

Author/Editor Phil Roxbee Cox
Illustrator Stephen Cartwright
Ages 3 – 5

Usbourne Phonics Readers are bright and adorable, with flip-out pages to give young readers a chance to guess what will happen next in this fun story. Toad Makes a Road is all about the oa sound, in words like toad, load, road. Toad has a problem: because she lives on a hill, there is no way for a delivery truck to come to her house. So, Toad must build a road! I love that the story touches on overcoming an obstacle through determination and hard work. The illustrations are colorful, the text is easy to read, and the rhyming makes for an entertaining and interactive reading experience. The book includes an index that shows and explains the phonic breakdown of the words used in the story.

The William Hoy Story, How a Deaf Baseball Player Changed the Game

By Nancy Churnin
Illustrated by Jez Tuya (Albert Whitman & Company)

The true story of William Ellsworth Hoy, a deaf 19th century baseball player, who taught umpires signs so he could play the game he loved. The book is a 2017 Storytelling World Resource Award Honor Book and is on several state reading lists, including Texas’ 2X2, Illinois’ Monarch Award Master list, Connecticut’s Charter Oak Book Awards and Louisiana Young Readers’ Choice Awards. Available in English and Japanese.

Manjhi Moves a Mountain

By Nancy Churnin
Illustrated by Danny Popovici (Creston Books, Lerner Books)

The true story of Dashrath Manjhi, who spent 22 years chiseling a path through a 300-foot mountain in his Indian village so kids could get to school and the sick could get to a doctor. Winner of the 2018 South Asia Book Award for grades Pre-K to 4, a 2019 Little Free Libraries Action Book Club selection by Children’s Book Council, Junior Library Guild Selection, Eureka Honor Book, Ezra Jack Keats Award Finalist, Children’s & Teen Choice Book Awards Finalist, ILA-CBC Children’s Choices List and NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Selection 2018. Available in English and Braille.

Charlie Takes His Shot, How Charlie Sifford Broke the Color Barrier in Golf

By Nancy Churnin
Illustrated by John Joven (Albert Whitman & Company)

The true story of Charlie Sifford, the first African American golfer on the PGA tour, whose dream was to do for golf what his friend, Jackie Robinson, did for baseball. Winner of the California Reading Association Silver Eureka Award, featured at the 2019 Ruby Bridges Reading Festival at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tenn.

Irving Berlin, the Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing

By Nancy Churnin
Illustrated by James Rey Sanchez (Creston Books, Lerner Books)

The true story of Irving Berlin, who came to America as a five-year-old immigrant, and went on to write 1,500 songs that became the pride of America including “White Christmas,” “God Bless America” and “There’s No Business Like Show Business.” A Sydney Taylor Notable winner and a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People.

The Queen and the First Christmas Tree, Queen Charlotte’s Gift to England

By Nancy Churnin
Illustrated by Luisa Uribe (Albert Whitman & Company)

The true story of Queen Charlotte, the kind queen who was married to King George III (yes, the king in Hamilton who lost the colonies) and started the annual Christmas tree tradition at Windsor Castle to delight a party of 100 children. A Mighty Girl selection.

Martin & Anne, the Kindred Spirits of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Anne Frank

Written by Nancy Churnin
Illustrated by Yevgenia Nayberg
Creston Books | 8 – 14 years

The lives and legacies of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Anne Frank are described in parallel in this beautiful picture book. Born in the same year but a world apart, Martin and Anne faced prejudices from the time they began school. Whereas one saw “Whites only” signs, the other saw “No Jews allowed” signs — but that didn’t stop either of them from dreaming of a better world and becoming beacons of inspiration long after their lives were cut short. Author Nancy Churnin purposefully states that Martin grows up to win the Nobel Peace Prize and that his assassination at age 39 cannot diminish his message of peace and equality; Anne’s life ended at 15, but her legacy lives on through her diary. The book embraces their unifying message that “Love is stronger than hate. / Kindness can heal the world.” Yevgenia Nayberg’s illustrations present King and Frank in a modern tapestry of colors, helping make the tough subject of discrimination more palatable for young children. Martin & Anne is a must-read to learn more about the parallel life experiences of these remarkable visionaries. All Churnin’s books have free Teacher Guides and projects on her website:

Eppie the Elephant (who was allergic to peanuts)

Written by Livingston Crouse
Illustrated by Steve Brown
Silver Dolphin Books | 6 – 8 years

It’s the first day of school and Eppie the Elephant is nervous that her classmates will not understand her allergy to…peanuts. Like many kids, Eppie has to be careful about what she eats. Eppie meets Pearl the squirrel and Allie the alligator and they become fast friends, spending the morning together. But when someone offers her a peanut butter sandwich at lunch and her allergy is explained, the kids make fun of her. Eppie feels all alone. Will her friends miss her company? Two words in the story are a little mature for this age group but, grandma or grandpa can explain. Your grandkids will relate to this story of understanding and acceptance. The adorable illustrations add to the sweetness of the story.

How to Trick the Tooth Fairy

Written by Erin Danielle Russell
Illustrated by Jennifer Hansen Rolli
Simon and Shuster | 4 – 9 years

Kaylee is a prankster. She always finds ways to prank her sister and friends with anything from water balloons to Oreos filled with dog toothpaste. Ick! Enter the “number one prank princess,” a pink-haired sparkly dressed Tooth Fairy with a mischievous grin. When the Tooth Fairy reaches under Kaylee’s pillow for a tooth, she gets a fake frog. So, she responds with real frogs! What follows is a one-up of very messy pranks, with desserts flying all over the kitchen, water spraying, and heaps of trouble. When it rains real cats and dogs in the house, they decide a truce is in order. They clean up together, share fairy-dust cookies, and become prankster-princess friends. This is a wonderfully creative story. It reminds me of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by the way the pranks keep mounting. The illustrations are charming with just enough pink and glitter to attract any princess with a playful grin and a twinkle in her eye.

Little Kids First Big Book Of Why 2

Written by Jill Esbaum
National Geographic Kids
4 – 8 years

This wondrous and fun reference book answers many of kids’ most burning “Why?” questions. You and your grandkids will love the colorful photos that are paired with easy-to-grasp answers to questions like, “Why are swimming pools blue?“ “Why do bats sleep upside down?” “Why do dogs sniff everything?” and “Why don’t penguins get cold?” With hundreds of subjects from silly to serious, this book encourages kids to be curious, ask questions, and explore our incredible world. To be honest, I loved reading this book. I learned so much that I did not know. I am sure you and your grandkids will feel the same.

Food Fight! A Mouthwatering History of Who Ate What and Why Through the Ages

Written by Tanya Steele
National Geographic Kids
10 and up

Get ready to dig into some human history through the lens of food to answer questions not usually known. Did you know that Christopher Columbus set out on his famous voyage in search not of the new world, but cinnamon? Did you ever wonder why M&Ms were invented? (Hint: That candy coating isn’t just for decoration!) Each chapter focuses on a significant period of world history from Prehistoric cave kids to Ancient Greece to present day and beyond. Every page has a colorful collection of photos and illustrations informative sidebars and historical pictures. Discover Yucky Habits of Yore,” quizzes, and period-accurate recipes that will transport you and your grandkids taste buds back in time. So, take a unique journey through time and learn how food shaped our global history and culture.

Hedy Lamarr’s Double Life: Hollywood Legend and Brilliant Inventor

Written by Laurie Wallmark
Illustrated by Katy Wu
Sterling’s Children’s Books
5 years and up

Who was the real Hedy Lamarr? Was she a beautiful movie star, a brilliant inventor — or both? This engaging picture book introduces young readers to both sides of Hedy Lamarr, often remembered for her acting career and beauty. But behind that pretty face was a superb mind, a little-known fact until just recently. Laurie Wallmark helps young readers understand Lamarr’s quest to break the mold society forced upon her. Wallmark traces Lamarr’s immutable curiosity and perseverance from World War II to Lamarr’s revolutionary scientific discoveries later in life. Lamarr comes to life through quotes and Katy Wu’s creative illustrations, wonderfully complimenting the easy-to-read text. Hedy Lamarr’s Double Life is a vivid testament to an extraordinary woman and could serve as an inspiration to readers of all ages.

Hoo Hoo Who?

Written by Mary Maier & Lauren Horton
Illustrated by Mary Maier
Building Blocks Press
2–5 years

This PAL Award-Winning book is incredibly adorable! Owl is hosting a surprise birthday party for his best friend Mouse. He has invited all of their friends but his glasses are broken, and he cannot see each guest as they arrive. You and your grandchildren have to help Owl figure out who is at the door by figuring out clues in the delightful text. Children are encouraged to engage in the story by responding to Owl’s WHO questions on every page. The whimsical scribbly pen-and-ink plus watercolor illustrations will captivate little readers each time you read the story aloud over and over again. Expect to hear one more time, please!


Written by Stacy McAnulty
Illustrated by Joanne Lew–Vreithoff
Running Press
3–8 years

There are many ways to show and express love and kids will find expressions of love everywhere in this charming book. Each page shows you can find love in everyday moments such as baking cookies with grandma, a family singing together on a car trip, notes from Mom in your lunchbox, or giving flowers to a sick friend, and it isn’t always what you think! With beautifully simple verse and colorful illustrations, it shows children when we share love it makes people happy. It is a perfect book to create an activity with art so your grandkids can share their expressions of love with the people they care about.

Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code

Written by Laurie Wallmark
Illustrated by Katy Wu
Sterling Children’s Books
5 – 18 years

Who was Grace Hopper? A software tester, workplace jester, cherished mentor, ace inventor, avid reader, naval leader AND rule breaker, chance taker, and troublemaker. Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code tells the riveting story of a trailblazing woman. Grace Hopper coined the term computer bug and taught computers to speak English. Throughout her life, Hopper succeeded in doing what no one had ever done before. Delighting in difficult ideas and in defying expectations, the insatiably curious Hopper truly was Amazing Grace . . . and a role model for science- and math-minded girls and boys. With a wealth of witty quotes, and richly detailed illustrations, this book brings Hopper’s incredible accomplishments to life. This book received a Kirkus star and was nominated for five state children’s awards.

Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine

Written by Laurie Wallmark
Illustrated by April Chu 
Creston Books
5 – 8 Years

ADA BYRON LOVELACE AND THE THINKING MACHINE (Creston Books, 2015) is a picture-book biography of the world’s first computer programmer. Ada was born two hundred years ago, long before the invention of the modern electronic computer. At a time when girls and women had few options outside the home, Ada followed her dreams and studied mathematics. The book, by Laurie Wallmark and April Chu, tells the story of this remarkable woman and her work. Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine received four starred trade reviews (Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and School Library Journal). In addition, it received the following awards and honors: Outstanding Science Trade Book (National Science Teachers Association); Eureka! Nonfiction Children’s Book Award (California Reading Association); Top Ten Science and Health Books for Youth (Booklist); and the Amelia Bloomer List (American Library Association). It is a Cook Prize honor book.

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